This week we've had the pleasure of being joined by Fisayo Adeleke from Exnesys. He's the brains behind Markets & Me, a financial Windows Phone app for those who enjoy keeping up with stock levels and reports for personal interest.
We think highly of Adeleke's app, which follows Metro to the letter. Be sure to check out what he has to say about Windows Phone as a platform, as well as the development process. Head on past the break for the full interview.
Tell us about yourselves and how you got into software development.
My name is Fisayo, the CTO and Co-Founder of Exnesys, a software development company I started with two of my colleagues from University. As my day job, I used to work as a developer in the financial services industry until about two weeks ago and now I'm at an eCommerce firm.
I started with working with HTML as a teenager, but my initial work background was in building network infrastructure and providing scalable services, but since I've always loved more the software side of things I pursued Computer Systems Engineering at Uni, which gave a balance between electronics and computer science, and where I built a pretty good background on the Java stack, it was a great experience.
Only recently in the last year, I decided to add Microsoft and .NET technologies to my stack, beginning with Windows Phone development.
What do you think of Microsoft's platform (from a user perspective) and how do you compare it to competitors?
I love the Windows Phone platform because it is different and innovative. Microsoft in creating the platform decided to add a different dimension into the smartphone mix and I love change. It's very simple, the Live tiles and social integration really sets it apart from the competition.
I like that everything just works out of the box, and the integration features especially when you have more than one Windows Phone its so easy to have the same data across both without doing much at all. Having used both Android and iPhone, the competition appears either lost on new ideas or having too many scattered around without depth, with Windows Phone there is still a lot to look forward thereby creating an excitement for the future.
What's the number one feature you love the most in Mango, and what are you looking forward to in Apollo?
The concept of information at a glance - live tiles! I will love the live tile experience to be improved, especially from update perspective but one big feature I'm looking forward to is the integration between the phone, tablet, desktop and TV through XBox.
What path(s) led you to develop for Windows Phone?
Being a Java developer perhaps the easiest route would have been Android but after considering the wide range of versions out there and the potential support consequences, myself and my colleagues decided this will not be the best platform to start with.
And also looking at the skill set available, the similarity of Java and C# to some extent, the unique proposition of the Windows Phone together with the platform being new and the expectation of full platform support from Microsoft, I decided the Windows Phone platform was the one to begin with.
What's your take on the Windows Phone development process, is it worthwhile?
I absolutely love it. Mango introduction was a massive improvement and despite the tightly guarded wall around Windows Phone 8 (aka Apollo) the expectation of what is to come has built up a lot of excitement that considering the relatively mature state of competitors there's just no innovation coming through on the competitor platforms anymore.
For example, I am very much looking forward to the XBox SmartGlass recently announced. I believe the Windows Phone development is very worthwhile now, and with excitement around 4-screens future strategy will even be more worthwhile.
How does the development process compare to other platforms?
As mobile platform goes, I haven't developed for other platforms yet so can't really make a practical comparisons. I may consider some iOS development in the near future but I don't think Android development will be fun for me.
Talk to us about the concept of Markets & Me, why did you go for a stock markets project?
Well I have my working background in the last 5 years or so in financial services developing applications and because I have interest in the stock markets and needed a single interface to manage my interests I developed a web-based equivalent of Markets & Me some 2-3 years ago.
With the decision to get into mobile apps and the choice of Windows Phone platform I thought why not start with porting my webapp into mobile, especially with a lot more of my internet interaction going through my mobile.
The steady stream of 5 star ratings for Markets & Me is an outstanding start, what's your secret?
Well there's no particular secret, but I do think Windows Phone users like me particularly love when an app is well metro and with Markets & Me I tried as best as possible to follow the metro guidelines. And while I don't classify myself as a designer, I do however have a thing or two for UX/UI presentation. I download a lot of apps not always to use them but to see how they are designed, there are some very functional ones I have downloaded in the past but pretty awful UI.
I decided that Markets & Me had to be functional with relevant and unique features I'd love to have myself as a user and in addition must have a well presented UI and provide a good user experience over all. It is not perfect yet but I believe it is very much on track.
What's planned for the future of your already approved app?
Markets & Me already pack some unique features not found in similar apps in the marketplace and in future release we plan to further differentiate the app to be the ultimate Windows Phone stock markets app.
One of the ideas we have, which perhaps can be seen with the name and even when you download the app is that Markets & Me is not just for tracking stocks but also providing rich but relevant information on the financial markets to the user. Another thing we do with Markets & Me is to listen to the users and their feedback and try to incorporate relevant feature requests as possible in upcoming releases.
What other Windows Phone projects are you working on, any that aren't in the Marketplace?
There is a choose your own adventure game we plan to work on in the near future. We are also waiting eagerly for Windows Phone 8 especially as there may be some development effort to ensure Markets & Me is compatible.
What advice would you give to other aspiring developers from your experience?
Follow the Metro guidelines, don't leave your users out cold but ensure there's regular updates especially to fix issues also get in touch with the local developer groups as you get to meet like-minded people, oh and follow the Windows Phone blogs
Thank you for your time. Any closing words about WP7's future?
Just looking forward to Windows Phone 8, and Windows Phone success in general. Also thanks to you for the job you're doing supporting the platform and thanks for having me on this interview.